Kicking off tonight is Eastern Front, whose new album Descent into Genocide is out now and is pretty great. It is also fitting that the band tonight find themselves onstage alongside Winterfylleth, since arguably Eastern Front’s latest release sees them moving in the direction towards the more ‘atmospheric’ side of black metal. Both bands played together here just over a year ago and put on a great show, receiving excellent reviews on major metal journalism sites such as Metal Recusants. However, tonight, unfortunately I felt they suffered from a lack of audible clarity. Whilst occasionally I was able to distinguish the parts and recognise whereabouts we were in the band’s discography, most of the time I felt we were being plastered with noise more than anything else. Fortunately, by the end of the set we were able to hear the guitar clearly enough, but rarely did the bass sound like anything other than brown noise. However, as usual there was plenty of energy to the performance and the aesthetic was all there. I only hope that those not familiar with their studio work (surely not many tonight) didn’t judge them by this, since on record they certainly have a lot more to offer.
To call The King is Blind an ‘up and coming’ band is to be a little behind the times, since in just one year they’ve upped, come everywhere and are seemingly already out the bedroom door. With their new EP The Deficiencies of Man TKIB appear not to be talking about themselves, since if they have any deficiencies, we haven’t seen them tonight. Combining doom with death, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where their music might fall on the yellow and wrinkly map of metal, yet since labelling music with precise genres is of the utmost importance here at MetalRecusants (it comes right after giving numerical ratings to studio releases) I thought I’d try. The best term I could come up with was ‘sludgy black death,’ which I found oddly fitting considering the band’s aesthetic. Full of variety, changes and some great musicianship, it was a joy to watch these guys. On drums was the delightfully named Barney Monger, a deceivingly gentle man offstage but always willing to provide some terribly extreme noise (did you see what I did there?) once he’s on the throne (to which throne I’m referring, I’ll let you decide…) I’ve always thought, looking back over all the greatest metal bands I fall in love with 4,5,6 years after their inception, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to be able to say ‘I was there [nearly] at the beginning!’ Well, tonight I realised that maybe this is the one. Checking out some reviews of the band’s studio material, it seems I’m not the only one.
And, of course, the main course for tonight is the black metal band of the new millennium, Winterfylleth. Again here in part to tease the peasants with scraps from their new release, for those not wise enough to have seen them over the summer this is the first chance many will have to hear some of these songs, although to my utter dismay they didn’t play ‘Whisper of the Elements,’ the band’s new best song (don’t worry, I had a word with the band about this). Yet, all in all the set list was extensive enough to please fans both old and new, providing a narrative both of Winterfylleth’s work and of the genre in general, ranging from the grim to the triumphant, the touching introspection of ‘A Careworn Heart’ to the glorious pride of ‘The Fields of Reckoning.’ Even though Dom and I earlier joked about how only poser wannabes bother going to the front nowadays, pretty much as soon as the set started I couldn’t take it anymore, and I had to run to the front with my fist in the air, tears in my eyes and join in for the clean bits at the top of my voice. Midway through the performance, a question formed in my head; ‘how can something be so aggressive, yet so beautiful?’ There is nothing ‘calm’ about this music, it’s fast and it’s persistent, yet it achieves in me the most utter contentment, and by looking around I feel the energy spreading and there’s a smile on everyone’s face. It’s happy music. A fantastic set from a brilliant band, always entertaining, always together, and never disappointing.
For upcoming events at Colchester Arts Centre visit the venue’s website.